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The Motherless StateWomen's Political Leadership and American Democracy$
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Eileen McDonagh

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226514543

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226514567.001.0001

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Maternalizing American Government, Briefly

Maternalizing American Government, Briefly

(p.175) 6 Maternalizing American Government, Briefly
The Motherless State
University of Chicago Press

American government became maternal because it became identified as a legitimate instrument for caring for people, whether the recipients of that care were men or women, adults or children, American citizens or newly arrived immigrants. Liberal individualism alone was clearly insufficient for attaining women's political inclusion as voters. Class and race biases impacted the implementation of maternal public policies. The use in the Progressive Era of two different sets of arguments for woman suffrage corresponds to the fledgling hybrid character of American public policies. The United States differs from most other comparable democracies in its failure to sustain public policies representing maternalism. The United States has never adopted gender quotas; it long ago destroyed its monarchical heritage, and failed to sustain the maternal impetus marking the Progressive Era.

Keywords:   American government, liberal individualism, maternal public policies, Progressive Era, woman suffrage, American public policies, maternalism, gender quotas, monarchical heritage

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